Fruition of Kamma in a social level

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SarathW
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Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby SarathW » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:59 am

I am reading this book which gives us a very good understanding of Kamma.
In this book it describe one ofthe fruition of kamma as:
===============
4. The social level: the results of individual and collective kamma on society, leading to social prosperity or decline, harmony or discord.
This would include the effects of human interaction with the environment.

======================
Is above a teaching of Buddha?
http://www.buddhanet.net/cmdsg/kamma3.htm

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Re: Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby Modus.Ponens » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:51 am

I hope that I'm not mistaken but, as I remember it, the Buddha never taught collective kamma.
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Re: Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:45 pm

SarathW,

What is the title and who is the author of the book?

FWIW, in these short suttas from the Pali Cannon the Buddha states that oridnary people can't know the exact chain of events in kamma that led to their present cirumstances. The Buddha also stated that not everything that happens is the result of kamma.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Re: Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:55 pm

Jhana4 wrote:What is the title and who is the author of the book?


Good, Evil, and Beyond (Phra Payutto)
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Re: Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:48 pm

From that link, this is used to say there is kamma at societal level?

"Then the leaders among those beings came together. Having met, they conferred among themselves thus: 'Sirs! Bad deeds have arisen among us, theft has come to be, slander has come to be, lies have come to be, the taking up of the staff has come to be. Enough! Let us choose one among us to admonish rightly those who should be admonished, to rebuke rightly those who should be rebuked, to banish rightly those who should be banished, and we will apportion some of our wheat to him.' With that, those beings proceeded to approach one being of fine attributes, more admirable, more inspiring and more awesome than any of the others, and said to him, 'Come, Sir, may you rightly admonish those who should be admonished, rightly rebuke those who should be rebuked, and rightly banish those who should be banished. We, in turn, will apportion some of our wheat to you.' Acknowledging the words of those other beings, he became their leader ... and there came to be the word 'king' ..."

"In this way, bhikkhus, when the ruler of a country fails to apportion wealth to those in need, poverty becomes prevalent. Poverty being prevalent, theft becomes prevalent. Theft being prevalent, weapons become prevalent. When weapons become prevalent, killing and maiming become prevalent, lying becomes prevalent ... slander ... sexual infidelity ... abuse and frivolity ... covetousness and jealousy ... wrong view becomes prevalent."


Couldn't that just be those with bad kamma being reborn in those bad conditions? (not necessarily group kamma)

Venerable,

Is there a 'Theravada' position on group kamma? I thought it was more of a Mahayana and Hindu and New Age thing with the group kamma theories.

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Re: Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby daverupa » Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:54 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:I thought it was more of a Mahayana and Hindu and New Age thing with the group kamma theories.


Here is something from Good, Evil, and Beyond on that issue:

Take, for example, the case of an autocrat who conceives a desire to create an empire. This is a condition arising within one person, but it spreads out to affect a whole society. In this case, what kamma does the society incur? Here, when the king or despot's advisers agree to and support his wishes, and when the people allow themselves to be caught up in the lust for greatness, this becomes kamma for those people also, and becomes kamma on a social scale. It may seem that this chain of events has arisen solely on account of one person, but it is not so. All are involved, and all are kammically responsible, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the extent of their personal involvement and acquiescence. The views and desires conceived by the despot become adopted by the people around him. There is an endorsement, more or less conscious, of that desire by the people, allowing the craving for power and greatness to spread and escalate throughout the population.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:55 pm

daverupa wrote:Here is something from Good, Evil, and Beyond on that issue:


But is there anything in the Suttas to suggest group kamma?

There is also the sutta where the Buddha reports about what conditions will make it good for the Vajjians and what things will make it worse. But as I mentioned above, it could be those with bad kamma being reborn in those conditions (where the Vajjians don't heed the advice) and those with good kamma being reborn in those good conditions (where the Vajjians followed the principles).

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Re: Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby daverupa » Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:25 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:But is there anything in the Suttas to suggest group kamma?


Not to my knowledge. In fact, MN 130:

But this evil action of yours was not done by your mother…or by gods: this evil action was done by you yourself, and you yourself will experience its result.’
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:58 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:Venerable,

Is there a 'Theravada' position on group kamma? I thought it was more of a Mahayana and Hindu and New Age thing with the group kamma theories.

I trust the Venerable Payutto's knowledge. One should read the book carefully from cover to cover to understand fully what he's saying — it's a complex subject.

In the stock phrase on kamma
“Sabbe sattā kammassakā, kammadāyādā, kammayonī, kammabandhū kammappaṭisaraṇā yaṃ kammaṃ karissanti kalyāṇaṃ vā pāpakaṃ vā tassa dāyādā bhavissanti.”

several different relationship are listed —
  1. We are the owners of our kamma: what we do in this life will bear fruit in the future, whether that is in this life, the next one, or some future existence.
  2. We are the heirs to our kamma: what happens to us in this life is a result of kamma done in previous lives, or earlier in this one.
  3. We are born from our kamma and kamma is the seed from which are produced: our accumulated kamma throughout many previous lives determines to a great extent our potential for this existence. We cannot all play the piano like Mozart, or do maths like Fourier. We could learn new skills, but there are limitations on what we can achieve in this life.
  4. We are related to our kamma: with the right parents someone with the potential to be a psychopath may turn out OK, while with the wrong parents, someone with the potential to be a great person, may turn out to be a great crook. (Evidence for the social aspect of kamma)
  5. We have kamma as our refuge: whatever our past kamma and potential is, we can maximise it or fail to depending on what we do in this life. What we did in the previous existences, or earlier in this one cannot be undone. We must inherit its results, but how those kammas bear fruit can be mollified or enhanced.
  6. Whatever we do, whether for good or evil, of that will be the heirs: all future effects are related to appropriate causes, but the relationship is complex and fluid, and easily misunderstood. Kamma is not determinism. (See Four Points to Bear in Mind)
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Re: Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby SarathW » Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:33 am

I found some info regarding above OP:
==========

The Dependent Origination cycle describes the arising of social ills along the same lines as the arising of personal suffering, but from craving onwards it diverges in to a description of external events:


"In this way, Ananda, conditioned by feeling is craving, conditioned by craving is seeking, conditioned by seeking is gain, conditioned by gain is valuation, conditioned by valuation is fondness, conditioned by fondness is possessiveness, conditioned by possessiveness is ownership, conditioned by ownership is avarice, conditioned by avarice is guarding,[*] conditioned by guarding and resulting from guarding are the taking up of the stick, the knife, contention, dispute, arguments, abuse, slander, and lying. Evil and unskillful actions of many kinds thus appear in profusion."[19]

Below is a comparison of the way the principle of Dependent Origination works on the personal and the community levels.


==========
Please read:
http://www.buddhanet.net/cmdsg/coarise7.htm

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Re: Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:24 am

Ven. Dhammika's blog post yesterday:

http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/2014/01/c ... ality.html

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Re: Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:54 am

Greetings,

Ven Dhammika wrote:Let us examine the 2004 tsunami, another event often sited as an example of collective kamma. The tsunami killed some 200,000 people, injured another million and left hundreds of thousands of others homeless. Even the most ill-informed person knows that the directly observable cause of the tsunami was an earthquake that shifted the tectonic plates on the floor of the ocean off the coast of Sumatra. This released a vast amount of energy which in turn caused huge waves to form. For this to be collective kamma it would require several things. As with the Holocaust, kamma would have had to pre-plan things so that vast numbers of people were in the effected area, either because they were reborn there and lived there, or that they were visiting the area at the chosen time, i.e. in the late morning of the 26th December. Extraordinarily, amidst the chaos of the deluge, the panic, the collapsing buildings and the debris being swept along, kamma would have had to arrange things so that the thousands of victims involved got their exact kammic retribution, no more and no less – so that those whose kamma required them to be killed were killed, that those whose kamma required them to be seriously injured were so injured, that those who only had to sustain minor injuries did so, and those whose kamma required only that their houses be destroyed suffered only that loss, and so on. But even more extraordinary, for kamma to be responsible for the tsunami would require accepting that it is able to influence the Earth’s tectonic plates so that they moved to just the right extent and at just the right time so that the resulting waves play out thousands of people’s kamma. Apart from stretching credibility beyond breaking point, I reject the idea of collective kamma because if such a thing existed the Buddha would have mentioned it. And he does not.

:anjali:

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Re: Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby Jason » Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:14 pm

While it's true that Theravada generally focuses on the individual aspects of kamma since the vast majority of the teachings in the Pali Canon deal with actions on an individual level (e.g., AN 5.57, MN 61, MN 136, etc.), there is one section at the beginning of DN 16, dealing with the "the growth of the Vajjis," that seems to allude to a type of collective kamma at a 'national' level, i.e., the Buddha asks Ananda if the Vajjis as whole do certain things (which are arguably skillful actions), and after Ananda answers yes, the Buddha states that, "So long, Ananda, as this is the case, the growth of the Vajjis is to be expected, not their decline." The Buddha doesn't call it collective kamma, of course, but I think the general principle is there.

That said, the subject of collective kamma bothers me for a number of reasons. It's not that I think it's impossible for there to be a concentration of individual kammic results in one place, due to the combined actions of a cohesive whole, such as from the citizens of a country. I think it's a valid frame of reference and can help motive people to be more socially engaged in their community/society. But even so, I still tend to view them as individual actions with individual results that are, or least appear to be, similar (i.e., nations don't have intentions, the citizens of those nation do). Furthermore, the idea of collective kamma bothers me when people use it unskillfully, e.g., when people harbour intense guilt for actions that they themselves didn't commit, and then end up creating more suffering for themselves by cultivating unwholesome mental states in the belief that they're somehow responsible, perhaps out of a desire to be punished or something.

I think that if people use the idea of collective kamma in a skillful way, such as being more active in their country's politics to help steer public policy, giving humanitarian aide, etc., it can be a good thing that helps to lessen suffering all around. But given the tendency of people to harbour guilt in numerous and often unwholesome ways, I feel that the idea of collective kamma can do more harm than good, such as leading to taking on the 'weight of the world' when what we really want to do is cast our burdens aside. I think if we view the teachings on kamma as teachings about personal responsibility, that our actions not only affect ourselves but those around us, then we're on the right track. When it comes to carrying the guilt of other's misdeeds, however, I think that's a self-imposed burden that we needn't bear. We can't change the past, we can only control how we act right here, right now; and I believe using the past as a lesson in how not to make the same mistakes is sufficient.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby daverupa » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:42 pm

It's almost as though working out the precise results of kamma brings with it a certain maddening vexation...

:tongue:

(But since we're here: elsewhere on the site today a sutta was posted which may pertain here:

"It would be a sheer coincidence, lord, that the blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, would stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole."

"It's likewise a sheer coincidence that one obtains the human state."


I'm not sure about the Pali behind 'sheer coincidence', but it seems as though the point is that we have a duty to practice on account of the rarefied concatenation of variables that even allow for practice; the blind sea-turtle didn't poke his head into the hole on account of kammavipaka, I think...)
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby SarathW » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:36 am

I look at social fruition of Kamma, the same way I look at individual Kamma.

There is no person so they all are a process. Individual Kamma operate in conjunction with five Niyamas.
So social fruition also a process subject to five Niyamas.

So when there is a earth quake it is due to all the Niyamas (Kamma, Dhamma, Utu, Citta, Biju etc.)
:shrug:

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Re: Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby vishuroshan » Fri Jan 24, 2014 6:10 am

kindly note that we cannot Identify what kamma is and how it effects us exactly. there's niyama dhamma as well as kamma. these things can come together also. if thers's powerful good karmic results, he can get rid of any disaster which comes from DHAMMA niyama or UTHU niyama. thats why buddha has advices DHAMMO HAVE RAKKATHI DHAMMACHARI. buddha has said that KARMA subject is like UNIVERSE. its a vast subject.

please read the following link. (MAHASI SAYADAW)

http://www.buddhanet.net/qold.htm

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Re: Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby SarathW » Tue Jul 01, 2014 5:26 am

Here Ven Payutto explain how dependent origination also work on social level:

The longest Sutta dealing with Dependent Origination in the Pali Canon is the Mahanidana Sutta [D.II.55-71]. There the Buddha explains the principle of conditionality both on an individual basis, as it occurs within the mind, and also in a social context, as it occurs in human relationships. So far we have dealt exclusively with the principle of Dependent Origination as it occurs in individual human consciousness. Before passing on from this subject it would therefore seem appropriate to mention briefly how Dependent Origination works on the social scale.

The Dependent Origination cycle describes the arising of social ills along the same lines as the arising of personal suffering, but from craving onwards it diverges in to a description of external events:


"In this way, Ananda, conditioned by feeling is craving, conditioned by craving is seeking, conditioned by seeking is gain, conditioned by gain is valuation, conditioned by valuation is fondness, conditioned by fondness is possessiveness, conditioned by possessiveness is ownership, conditioned by ownership is avarice, conditioned by avarice is guarding,[*] conditioned by guarding and resulting from guarding are the taking up of the stick, the knife, contention, dispute, arguments, abuse, slander, and lying. Evil and unskillful actions of many kinds thus appear in profusion."[19]

=====================

One section of the Aggañña Sutta illustrates the sequence of social evolution according to cause and effect thus:

People become lazy and begin to hoard rice (previously rice was plentiful and there was no need to hoard it) and this becomes the preferred practice => people begin to hoard private supplies => unscrupulous people steal other's shares to enlarge their own => censure, lying, punishment, and contention result => responsible people, seeing the need for authority, appoint a king => some of the people, being disillusioned with society, decide to do away with evil actions and cultivate meditation practice. Some of these live close to the city and study and write scriptures; they become the Brahmins. Those who remain with their families continue to earn their living by various professions; they becoming the artisans. The remaining people, being vulgar and inept, become the plebeians. From among these four groups a smaller group breaks off, renouncing tradition and household life and taking to the 'homeless life.' These become the samanas.

The aim of this Sutta is to explain the arising of the various classes as a matter of natural development based on related causes, not as commandments from an almighty God. All people are equally capable of good and evil behavior, and all receive results according to the natural law; it follows that all beings are equally capable of attaining enlightenment if they practice the Dhamma correctly.

The Cakkavatti Sutta shows the arising of crime and social ills according to the following cause and effect sequence:

(The ruler) does not share wealth among the poor => poverty abounds => theft abounds => the use of weapons abounds => killing and maiming abound => lying abounds => slander ... sexual infidelity ... abusive and frivolous speech ... greed and hatred ... wrong view => lust for what is wrong, greed, wrong teachings, disrespect for parents, elders and religious persons, disrespect for position abound => longevity and appearance degenerate.

It is interesting to note that in modern times, attempts to resolve social problems are rarely attuned to their real causes. They seek to provide stopgap solutions, such as establishing counseling for drug addicts and delinquents, but they do not delve deeply into the social conditions which affect the emergence of such problems in the first place, such as consumerism and mass media. In this respect, the Buddhist teaching of Dependent Origination on the social scale offers an invaluable precedent for intelligent and truly effective social analysis and reform.



http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books3/Payut ... nation.htm

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Re: Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:02 am

Ven. Shravasti Dhammika has made an update with some additional information to his article on collective kamma. Here it is reprinted with his permission:

In recent decades something referred to as collective kamma or group kamma has been posited and discussed. The term has been used not only in popular writing but occasionally even by psychologists, therapists, sociologists and other professionals. If by collective kamma one means something like Emile Durkheim’s concept of collective consciousness then this would be quite acceptable. By collective consciousness Durkheim meant that a large number of people with shared history, language, customs and beliefs may well think and behave in ways that are similar or that have modalities in common. Collective kamma, however vaguely understood or interpreted, is quite different from this. It is the notion that the kamma a person or group of people created by acting in a particular way can have the same or similar vipāka on another person or number of people who did not act that way. For example, the revered Tibetan master Lati Rimpoche recently claimed that the suffering of the Jewish people during the Holocaust was the result of great wickedness some of them had committed in previous lives. Others have claimed that the murderous rule of the Khmer Rouge was likewise kammic retribution for past evil done by the Cambodian people. The most recent mass tragedy to be dubbed an example of collective kamma was the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. In the days immediately after this disaster a prominent Singaporean monk was reported in the local newspaper as saying that most of the tsunami victims were fishermen suffering the kammic consequences of decades of killing fish.

Nothing explicitly mentioning the idea of collective kamma is found in the Buddha’s teachings and there is no Pāḷi or Sanskrit terms for collective kamma in the traditional lexicons. The idea also seems to be absent from later Buddhist texts also. However, in his Abhidharmakośabhāsya Vasubandhu has a comment that could be interpreted as suggesting collective kamma. He says: “When many persons are united with the intention to kill, either in war, or in the hunt, or in banditry, who is guilty of murder, if only one of them kills? As soldiers, etc., concur in the realization of the same effect, all are as guilty as is the one who kills. Having a common goal, all are guilty just as he who among them kills, for all mutually incite one another, not through speech, but by the very fact that they are united together in order to kill. But is the person who has been constrained through force to join the army also guilty? Evidently so, unless he has formed the resolution: ‘Even in order to save my life, I shall not kill a living being’.”
If indeed Vasabandhu was positing collective kamma the example he gave for it is not very convincing. Let us consider it carefully. All the persons mentioned in this example would have come together with a common negative purpose and thus would have all committed some negative kamma, as Vasubandhu correctly says. However, the nature and intensity of their individual intentions may well have varied. Some might have been enthusiastic about what was planned, others less so, one or two may have had serious reservations. Further, the kammic background of each person would have been different. One could have been a hardened criminal who had committed many crimes before, another might have been a novice in crime, while a third might have been basically good but weak and easily led by his friends. With such a variety of motives and backgrounds how each member of the gang would have felt and acted subsequent to their crime is likely to have been just as diverse, ranging all the way from cruel satisfaction, to cold indifference, to regret. Taking all these quite plausible and even quite likely differences into consideration, it is only realistic to imagine that the vipāka of each person in the group would be of very different strength and that it would manifest at different times and in very different ways. Thus a second look at this passage will show that it is not a convincing argument for collective kamma, if indeed that is what it is meant to be.

One incident from the Buddhist tradition that could be suggesting something like collective kamma is a story about the Sakyans, the Buddha’s kinsmen. Viḍūḍabha, the king of Kosala, massacred “all the Sakyans” including even “the suckling babes”, and they suffered this fate supposedly because “the Sakyans” had sometime previously poisoned a river in a dispute over its water (Ja.IV,152). In reality, only a few Sakyans would have committed this evil deed, and although the Sakyan chiefs probably authorized it and a number of others may have approved of it, the majority, particularly the babies and children, would have had nothing at to do with it. Thus the idea of collective kamma idea is implicit in this story. How are we to explain this? The story is not in the Tipiṭaka but comes from the of the Jātaka commentary, a text of uncertain but late date. Some scholars consider it to have been composed in Sri Lankan rather than India. But whoever the author was it seems likely that he was just storytelling, rather than positing the idea of collective kamma as a specific doctrine. The fact that no later commentators took the story as a cue to develop the idea of collective kamma strengthens this assumption. Also, another version of the story, from the Mahāvaṁsa Ṭīkā, says that there were survivors of the massacre, thus undermining that claim that “all Sakyans” suffered the negative vipāka of the kamma created by others.

The version of collective kamma which maintains that the consequences of deeds done by some within a group can be experienced by others within the same group, contradicts one of the most fundamental Buddhist concepts; that each individual is responsible for themselves.

The earliest unambiguous mention of collective kamma that I have been able to find is in the writings of the 19th century occultist Helena Blavatsky. In her The Key to Theosophy, 1889, Blavatsky make reference to what she called “National Karma”. The idea seems to have subsequently been taken up by various believers in the occult, then absorbed into New Age thinking, from where it has spread to Buddhism. It is surprising how many Buddhist teachers, learned and otherwise, speak of collective kamma as if it were a part of authentic Dhamma, despite its recent origin and it having no precedence in traditional Buddhism.
Nonetheless, it could be argued that just because collective kamma is not mentioned in any Buddhist scriptures does not mean that it is false. After all, Buddhism does not have an exclusive claim to all truths. Perhaps Madam Blavatsky and others had insights that the Buddha or later Buddhist masters lacked. So it will be worthwhile to examine the idea of collective kamma more carefully to see if it has any validity.
There are various versions of the collective kamma idea. One maintains that large numbers of people can be reborn into a particular group which then suffers together because of their shared negative kamma. Another version maintains that a small number of innocent individuals belonging to a group can suffer the negative kamma made by a larger number of individuals within that group. In these first two versions the suffering supposedly comes in the form of war, famine, plague, earthquakes or other natural disasters. Yet another version of this second theory is that individuals can suffer for evil they have done by having something horrible happen to someone related to them. I have heard people, in one case a senior monk, say that giving birth to a handicapped child is not a result of the victim’s bad kamma but of the parents’.

The dilettante exponent of Buddhism and so-called “perennial philosophy”, Ananda Coomaraswamy, was unable to understand how kamma could be transmitted through a series of lives without a soul and so he read into Buddhism a kind of universal heredity kamma. “No man lives alone, but we may regard the whole creation…as one life and therefore as sharing a common karma, to which every individual contributes for good or ill…The great difficulty of imagining a particular karma passing from individual to individual, without the persistence of even a subtle body, is avoided by the conception of human beings, or indeed of the whole universe, as constituting one life or self. Thus it is from our ancestors that we receive our karma, and not merely from ‘our own’ past experience; and whatsoever karma we create will be inherited by humanity for ever.” Garma C. C. Chang’s unique interpretation of Buddhism allowed for collective kamma. According to him: “The evidence of collective karma is not lacking in our own world” and he gave as evidence of this “the fate of the American Indians, of Aztecs, of Mayans and to a certain extent Negroes and Jews…” Unfortunately, the evidence of collective kamma is noticeably lacking from Buddhist scriptures and Chang was unable to quote any in support of his claim.

There are numerous doctrinal, logical, evidential, moral and even common sense problems with the collective kamma idea in any of its forms. Let us examine some of them. Proponents of collective kamma are long on generalizations but noticeably short on details. How, for example, does kamma organize all its mass causes and effects? How and in what form does it store and process all the data needed so that one individual experiences this kammic consequence and another one experiences that? How do the logistics work that would be needed to guarantee that a large number of individuals are reborn at this time, within that group and at a certain location so as to experience the required suffering? And what is the force or energy by which kamma makes all these extraordinarily complex arrangements? No explanations are forthcoming.

If we explore specific examples of what is claimed to be collective kamma we will see just how problematic the idea is. Let us look at the monstrous crimes the Nazis committed against European Jewry during the Second World War. If some form of collective kamma really operates something like this would have be necessary. Kamma would have had to somehow construct things so that six million evil-doers were reborn in what was to become Nazi occupied Europe and be living there between 1939 and 1945. It would have had to pre-plan decades ahead to arrange the social and political situation in Germany so that a fanatical anti-Semite came to power. Concordant to this it would have been necessary to select millions of other people to be reborn in Germany with attitudes and outlooks that either supported Nazism, or were too apathetic or too timid to oppose it. And when the required six million victims had suffered sufficiently for their past evil deeds, kamma would then have had to arrange and manipulate innumerable complex causes and effects in such ways that the war ended when everyone had got their just deserts. For those Buddhists unacquainted with the most ancient texts or have never bothered to study them, kamma is little different from an omnipotent, omniscient god. Grama C. C. Chang again: “In many ways karma, in the Buddhist tradition, is almost equivalent to what general expression calls the Will of God.”

Now let us examine the 2004 tsunami, another event often cited as an example of collective kamma. The tsunami killed some 200,000 people, injured another million and left hundreds of thousands of others homeless. Even the most ill-informed person knows that the directly observable cause of the tsunami was an earthquake that shifted the tectonic plates on the floor of the ocean off the coast of Sumatra. This released a vast amount of energy which in turn caused huge waves to form. For the tsunami to be collective kamma it would require several things. As with the Holocaust, kamma would have had to pre-plan things so that vast numbers of people were in the affected area, either because they were reborn there and lived there, or that they were visiting the area at the required time, i.e. in the late morning of the 26th December. Extraordinarily, amidst the chaos of the deluge, the panic, the collapsing buildings and the debris being swept along, kamma would have had to contrive things so that the thousands of victims involved got their exact kammic retribution, no more and no less; so that those whose kamma required them to be killed were killed, that those whose kamma required them to be seriously injured were so injured, that those who only had to sustain minor injuries did so, and those whose kamma required only that their houses be destroyed suffered only that loss, and so on. But even more extraordinary, for the tsunami to be an example of collective kamma would require accepting that kamma is able to influence, not just humans, but even the Earth’s tectonic plates, making them move to just the right extent and at just the right time so that the resulting waves were able to play out on thousands of people’s vipāka. There seems to be no end to the extraordinary abilities that speculation is able to attribute to kamma. And of course all this may be true. Just let it be known that nothing even remotely like this was taught by the Buddha.

Ven. S. Dhammika

SarathW
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Re: Fruition of Kamma in a social level

Postby SarathW » Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:25 am

Buddha never taught about the fruition of Kamma in a social level.
The division of people based on country, religion, cast, region etc are the result of ignorance.
People die as they are born to this world. It is an individual kamma.
Should all Muslim people to be punished for the action of a minority?
Should I be punished for the action I have never taken a part on it?
Even if I had done a bad Kamma in the past, I have the control over to prevent it's fruition.

Some interesting Sutta in this topic.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


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